03:40 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Newly released footage of a 2013 incident shows a Palm Beach, Fla. sheriff's deputy shooting an unarmed man holding a cell phone within seconds of stopping him.

    Dashcam Video Shows Florida Sheriff's Deputy Shooting Unarmed Man

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    Newly released footage of a 2013 incident shows a Palm Beach, Fla. sheriff's deputy shooting an unarmed man holding a cell phone within seconds of stopping him.

    At the time of the shooting, Deputy Adams Lin said he thought the man, Dontrell Stevens, was armed, and that he yelled orders which Stevens did not obey. Even though Stevens — who was left paralyzed from the waist down —  is out of frame for 4 seconds, the video and audio seem to contradict the officers claims. 

    The video shows the police vehicle's perspective as it turns into a street where Stephens, 20 years old at the time, is riding his bicycle with a cell phone in one hand. He appears to be doing nothing unusual when the sheriff decides to follow him off the side of the road. 

    When he realizes he's being followed he pulls into a driveway and dismounts, walking a few steps toward the deputy. He is out of frame for about 4 seconds, then comes back in, running away as he is shot 4 times, then collapses. 

    Later in the video, when another deputy arrives, Lin can be heard explaining the incident to him, WPTV reports. 

    "He starts backing away," Lin explains. "I said, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground.'"

    Then, the other deputy is heard reassuring him, "I got your back man.  I got your back.  Hey, you hear me?"

    To which Deputy Lin responds, "Yeah, I know."

    After the Sept. 13, 2013 shooting, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw defended Deputy Lin's actions saying the black object spotted in Stephens' hands could have been a threat to the deputy's life. 

    "Stop what you're doing and comply with us," Bradshaw told reporters. "There's nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait to find out what this is to get killed."

    However, the audio available from the dashcam recording captured no audible orders to Stephens — though it is noisy, with commercial radio playing in the background. 

    Stephens' attorney Jack Scarola told WBTV that he requested to view all the audio and video of the incident and found inconsistencies between them and police reports.

    "There are no records of any commands ever made to Dontrell Stephens," Scarola said.

    "The deputy's recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false.  Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence."

    At the time of the shooting, Lin was only taken off duty for four days, and several months later the State Attorney's Office and the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office ruled that the shooting was justified.

    Stephens, who is now in a wheelchair because of his injuries, is suing the sheriff and the deputy. The sheriff's office has not commented on the dashcam video, citing the pending litigation. 

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    Tags:
    sheriff's deputy, sheriff's department, video footage, dashcam, lawsuit, Police Brutality, Police Shooting, Police, Dontrell Stephens, Florida, West Palm Beach
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